An entrancing summer read that is powerful and resonating, These Granite Islands from author Sarah Stonich is at its core a book about an elderly woman reflecting on her life, but the stories of her youth, her loves, and the troubles in her marriage are what give the story its impact. Masterfully written and smart, this book is a cut above most of what's out there. Don't miss it!
Name: These Granite Islands
Rating: 4.1 stars over 35 reviews
Description: From her hospital bed, 99-year-old Isobel Howard recalls her unexpected friendship with Cathryn, a childless, Chicago-born heiress who shunned her family, attended art school and married an Irishman with no pedigree. During the summer of 1936, the women find themselves alone in Cypress, MN, a mining town on the edge of a glacier-fed lake. Isobel is the wife of a tailor, mother of three young children and a milliner by training. He husband, Victor has taken their two boys away to an island he has purchased--an extravagance that has become a sore point in their marriage.
Left behind with her quiet daughter, Louisa, Isobel revives her interest in hatmaking. During their shared days, Cathryn introduces Isobel to literature, art and a more cosmopolitan view of life, ultimately making Isobel an accomplice to the affair she is having with a local forest ranger. But there is a darker side to this idyll, and as the elderly Isobel reflects on the ensuing events, it is clear that this summer has exacted a heavy price. Sticklers for logic may question some turns of the story, and Stonich's prose has an eye for exquisite detail, opening up into atmospherically rendered, carefully observed scenes. Stonich unfurls a complex, many-layered and suspenseful story; and, like Susan Minot and Anita Shreve, she handles flashbacks and contemporary details with equal precision.
Reviews: "These Granite Islands is a fabulous romantic relationship drama that seems like a well-written throw back to a time when romanticism meant something different. The story line starts a bit choppy, but once the flashbacks to 1936 get into gear, the plot is smooth sailing and worth the time. Fans of powerful emotional women's mainstream fiction with a historical bent will fully enjoy a strong character-based romantic tale that will make debut author Sarah Stonich a household name rather quickly."
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